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EXPERIENCE OF VIOLENCE
Sexual violence: is defined as the occurrence, attempt or threat of sexual assault experienced by a person since the age of 15. There are two components of sexual violence:
Respondents are asked if they have ever experienced physical assault, physical threat, sexual assault and sexual threat by a man and/or a woman, resulting in eight sub-categories of violence.
Breakdown of violence types collected in the PSS
Additionally, the PSS asked respondents about their experiences of violence since the age of 15 by different male and female perpetrator types, including stranger, current and previous partner, boyfriend, girlfriend or date, and other known person.
MEASURING MULTIPLE INCIDENTS AND MULTIPLE TYPES OF VIOLENCE
A key objective of the PSS is to measure the prevalence of violence in Australia. Prevalence refers to the number and proportion (rate) of persons in a given population that have experienced any type of violence within a specified timeframe.
The counting unit in the PSS is always persons and not incidents. While some basic information is collected about the frequency of partner violence, the PSS cannot determine the exact number of times a respondent has experienced violence. Instead, the PSS provides information about whether a respondent has ever experienced violence since the age of 15 by a male or female perpetrator.
Where a person has experienced more than one type of violence, they are counted separately for each type of violence they experience but are only counted once in the aggregated totals. Components therefore may not add to the totals. For example, if a person has experienced both physical assault by a stranger and an incident of physical assault by their current partner, they would be counted against each type of violence by type of perpetrator (i.e. physical assault by a stranger and physical assault by a current partner) but they would only be counted once in the total for those who had experienced physical assault.
In addition, where a single incident of violence involved more than one of the different types of violence the incident of violence is only counted once. For example, if a person is physically assaulted during or as part of a sexual assault, this would be counted once only as a sexual assault. The primary type of violence for the incident is based on the ordering of the questionnaire and the perception of the respondent. Incidents of sexual assault and threat were asked before physical assault and threat with the latter questions asking respondents not to re-report any incidents already mentioned.
For more details, refer to the Violence - Prevalence page in the Personal Safety Survey, Australia: User Guide, 2016 (cat. no. 4906.0.55.003).
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